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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Exhuming Aussie Diggers- the right idea?

Work is about to begin near Fromelles France to exhume approximately 400 Australian and British World War One soldiers thought to be buried in a mass grave.

The stories of the soldiers are as touching and as fascinating yas you might expect. The research done by Lambis Englezos is deserving of an OBE in my view. The technology in use is also interesting and of course DNA investigations form the corner stone of this project. But here's where I become a little concerned.

"We don't even know if it is going to work yet," Peter Jones, a British DNA consultant to the project, said yesterday.

"If the DNA is there and in good condition, then you get profiles from all of the samples from the grave. But I don't think you are going to get that.


So despite the fact they are going to exhume these dead soldiers, there are concerns that it ight be for nothing. Not only are they uncertain about the DNA validity, but they are short on for decendants willing to offer their DNA:
...fewer than 15 British families have registered to take part in the project and an 11th-hour public campaign has now been launched in Britain to try to ignite interest in the Fromelles discovery, coax potential relatives to register and increase the chances of individual identification.

THis may be due to a less than ideal PR/advertising campaign, but I's like tohttp://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=5856979 suggest that some descendants hold the same view that I do- that we ought to leave the dead as they were.
These are a mix of young men from Britain and Australia. They went to war as volunteers, fought side by side and died together. In the fields of Fromelles they have lain side by side for 90+ years and it is my view there they should remain.
While I am always interested in this sort of forensic work, I wonder if this isn't possibly desecration. There may be a prevailing view that these men deserve a proper burial, but I'm of the view they have already received one:

The Germans, to their credit, gathered the dead and buried them in mass graves under the shadow of Fromelles’s church. Before they did so, they removed the identification tags, recorded the names of the dead and sent the tags back to Australia.


View Larger Map

Work Underway To Identify Fromelles Fallen [via The Age]

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posted by thr at 8:23 am 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 04, 2009

My web presence- getting it all to hang together.

Yesterday I posted the news that I have a new site in the process of being designed built and to ensure it not only launches smoothly, but works hard for me, I have been reviewing how all of my social media strategy hangs together.
Frankly, it's less than ideal. Here's my bad photoshopped image of what currently happens.

my content map


How it all works.
  • The whole shebang hangs off RSS. Without the RSS feeds from the content services, then it would all be manual- a total nightmare.
  • TwitterFeed is a brilliant service (I have donated) and is the hub I use for content processing into Twitter.
  • Thomasr.org posts are checked every three hours and then posted into Twitter as "Blog Post". The RSS feed automatically shoots into Facebook as a "Facebook Note". Facebook only allows one RSS feed. It's tempting to process all the feeds into Feedburner and then feed the whole lot into Facebook- but that's untenable and Facebook Spam (FBS).
  • Flickr pics also go into TwitterFeed, but are processed slightly differently. As I have varying degrees of Flickr use- occasional pics from BrightKite as well as whole car/bike sets that can number 50+ pics per car, I use the TwitterFeed feature to limit the RSS checking to once a day and 2 posts at any one time. FBS reduction right there.
  • I use BrightKite mostly on my iPhone as it can post pics to Flickr (and importantly geo tag them) and send onto Twitter as well. If I'm not using BK for pics, then it works well as a Twitter client and I use it when I want to tell everyone where I am (especially for public event hosting and similar).
  • My YouTube channel videos update once a day and one video to TwitterFeed. No need for updates more often than that as I have never posted more than one video a day and I doubt I ever will!
  • My 3AW blog posts are rare, but also update via RSS. This is a once a day thing and one post gets sent to Twitter.
  • My CarAdvice and BikeAdvice posts do not have an unique RSS feed. I think if I got to the bottom of Yahoo Pipes, I think I could feed the raw RSS into Yahoo pipes and filter it so only the podcasts and my articles make it to TwitterFeed. In the meantime, I write up a blog post pointing to the article and that starts off the Thomasr.org chain of events and that suits me for now as it gives my all-important paid work a double dose on Facebook and a single run on Twitter.
  • Two services for links I use are my Del.icio.us and Google Reader shared items and these feed into Twitter almost on the spot, though I do limit them to a maximum of 3 at a time.
  • All that done, the tweets start to automatically appear on Twitter itself.
  • My Twitter feed goes straight into FriendFeed, which also aggregates my YouTube and Blog posts independently but is smart enough (something Scoble says a lot about FF) not to double up.
  • FriendFeed then sends all aggregated (And not doubled up) content to Facebook via a Facebook app.
That last point is no longer true, but it's important to note that it was once the case. The problem now at Facebook is not one of double ups, but rather over saturation. Every single Tweet goes to Facebook. Per my previous post, I took my own advice and I'm not letting Tweets set as FB status, but it is appearing in all my friends timelines. Not all are happy:

Quite. I had a feeling this was the case, but as you can't really see when you are creating "noise" on a friend's Facebook page, I just kept going. (Not to be rude, but the more friends you have on FB, the less spammy my FB timeline appears as I am woven into the general fabric of Facebook)

Ok So what's this all mean?
The Web 2.oh services are evolving and so too are the users. In fact it's user expectation and user demands that are driving me- I think not so much about what can be done, but what's best for my readers/followers/friends. So I turned off the feed into Facebook. But I do need some sort of feed into Facebook as it is a content cul de sac (Content goes in, doesn't come out) and is very important as my friend base on Facebook increases.

So I'm going to set up a Feedburner account and aggregate most content apart from Twitter posts into Facebook as notes. It's not a huge amount and certain services like Flickr will now be handled by a Facebook App instead of FriendFeed.

Where's the conversation?
This is super critical. Corvida's post on ReadWriteWeb was very clear and I believe it.
While there's no formula for success, there are three keys to a killer web service: search, aggregation, and conversation.
So search is taken care of and I nearly have the aggregation situation about right. But it's conversation, the third and possibly most compelling element- where will that happen?

Thoughts on conversation
:
  • Not on my blog as it stands. I generate a fair few followers and readers, but few comments. I'm not that sort of blogger.
  • On places of content origin. That's a mixed bag. YouTube- you have to be kidding. Flickr- very occasional. BrightKite- rare. on 3AW, CarAdvice and BikeAdvice a lot of good commenting takes place and should stay there as these sites are focussed on conversation.
  • On Twitter. That tends to be short: "Good post" "nice pic" etc. Not really conversation, though it can be. Twitter conversations can be intense and real time, but also tend to disappear into the Twitter ether due to the non semantic nature of Twitter.
  • FriendFeed. I don't think so right now. Scoble may be right and FF might go mainstream, but that's going to take a while and meantime FF is silent.
  • Conversations on my content. Absolutely. So much so, that I have resolved to do two things: employ Facebook Connect on my new blog comments area and open up my friends list to Scoble-esque proportions.
So there's a bit to do and of course it's ongoing.

And it obsesses me.

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posted by thr at 10:59 am 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Website changes- they are a comin'

I've been collaborating with SharpSushi on a new website for me. It's not an overly ambitious new site- the designs are very different to the old site and we're doing some real UI work to make the site not only a bit more lively on the landing page, but also seek to market what I do and what I offer in a better way. How? Keep coming back people!
Some notes:
  • Changing over from Blogger to WordPress. Thanks Blogger, but it's time. Yes, there will be teething/transfer issues, but I feel WordPress offers features and plugins that Blogger just can't match. It also means I am not beholden to Blogger. WordPress could run my site for the next 20 years.
  • The site landing page will offer content rather than my current "just freakin' links" page.
  • On occasions I will offer a podcast featuring off-topic content developed for CarAdvice podcasts. The WP Plugins will service this new content offering.
  • Changing over my GoDaddy accounts to use WP has been a pain at times. The Power of Twitter assisted the process when I bitched about GoDaddy's terribly messy website. They replied. In the I called their tech support and found out to host WP on windows you need IIS7 and I was on IIS6. Find that on the website if you can...?
  • I hardly use any bandwidth or cloud space as allocated by GoDaddy, so offering podcasts won't cost me anything more.
  • I'm finally working out how to get my content to syndicate elsewhere- not from a tech perspective, but from a social perspective. I recently turned off FriendFeed to Facebook as I was almost spamming FB people.
The new site will go into beta shortly and fully launch in a matter of weeks.

Thanks to Lord Hayden for the early designs.

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posted by thr at 11:11 am 0 comments links to this post

My web presence- getting it all to hang together.

Yesterday I posted the news that I have a new site in the process of being designed built and to ensure it not only launches smoothly, but works hard for me, I have been reviewing how all of my social media strategy hangs together.
Frankly, it's less than ideal. Here's my bad photoshopped image of what currently happens.

my content map


How it all works.
  • The whole shebang hangs off RSS. Without the RSS feeds from the content services, then it would all be manual- a total nightmare.
  • TwitterFeed is a brilliant service (I have donated) and is the hub I use for content processing into Twitter.
  • Thomasr.org posts are checked every three hours and then posted into Twitter as "Blog Post". The RSS feed automatically shoots into Facebook as a "Facebook Note". Facebook only allows one RSS feed. It's tempting to process all the feeds into Feedburner and then feed the whole lot into Facebook- but that's untenable and Facebook Spam (FBS).
  • Flickr pics also go into TwitterFeed, but are processed slightly differently. As I have varying degrees of Flickr use- occasional pics from BrightKite as well as whole car/bike sets that can number 50+ pics per car, I use the TwitterFeed feature to limit the RSS checking to once a day and 2 posts at any one time. FBS reduction right there.
  • I use BrightKite mostly on my iPhone as it can post pics to Flickr (and importantly geo tag them) and send onto Twitter as well. If I'm not using BK for pics, then it works well as a Twitter client and I use it when I want to tell everyone where I am (especially for public event hosting and similar).
  • My YouTube channel videos update once a day and one video to TwitterFeed. No need for updates more often than that as I have never posted more than one video a day and I doubt I ever will!
  • My 3AW blog posts are rare, but also update via RSS. This is a once a day thing and one post gets sent to Twitter.
  • My CarAdvice and BikeAdvice posts do not have an unique RSS feed. I think if I got to the bottom of Yahoo Pipes, I think I could feed the raw RSS into Yahoo pipes and filter it so only the podcasts and my articles make it to TwitterFeed. In the meantime, I write up a blog post pointing to the article and that starts off the Thomasr.org chain of events and that suits me for now as it gives my all-important paid work a double dose on Facebook and a single run on Twitter.
  • Two services for links I use are my Del.icio.us and Google Reader shared items and these feed into Twitter almost on the spot, though I do limit them to a maximum of 3 at a time.
  • All that done, the tweets start to automatically appear on Twitter itself.
  • My Twitter feed goes straight into FriendFeed, which also aggregates my YouTube and Blog posts independently but is smart enough (something Scoble says a lot about FF) not to double up.
  • FriendFeed then sends all aggregated (And not doubled up) content to Facebook via a Facebook app.
That last point is no longer true, but it's important to note that it was once the case. The problem now at Facebook is not one of double ups, but rather over saturation. Every single Tweet goes to Facebook. Per my previous post, I took my own advice and I'm not letting Tweets set as FB status, but it is appearing in all my friends timelines. Not all are happy:

Quite. I had a feeling this was the case, but as you can't really see when you are creating "noise" on a friend's Facebook page, I just kept going. (Not to be rude, but the more friends you have on FB, the less spammy my FB timeline appears as I am woven into the general fabric of Facebook)

Ok So what's this all mean?
The Web 2.oh services are evolving and so too are the users. In fact it's user expectation and user demands that are driving me- I think not so much about what can be done, but what's best for my readers/followers/friends. So I turned off the feed into Facebook. But I do need some sort of feed into Facebook as it is a content cul de sac (Content goes in, doesn't come out) and is very important as my friend base on Facebook increases.

So I'm going to set up a Feedburner account and aggregate most content apart from Twitter posts into Facebook as notes. It's not a huge amount and certain services like Flickr will now be handled by a Facebook App instead of FriendFeed.

Where's the conversation?
This is super critical. Corvida's post on ReadWriteWeb was very clear and I believe it.
While there's no formula for success, there are three keys to a killer web service: search, aggregation, and conversation.
So search is taken care of and I nearly have the aggregation situation about right. But it's conversation, the third and possibly most compelling element- where will that happen?

Thoughts on conversation
:
  • Not on my blog as it stands. I generate a fair few followers and readers, but few comments. I'm not that sort of blogger.
  • On places of content origin. That's a mixed bag. YouTube- you have to be kidding. Flickr- very occasional. BrightKite- rare. on 3AW, CarAdvice and BikeAdvice a lot of good commenting takes place and should stay there as these sites are focussed on conversation.
  • On Twitter. That tends to be short: "Good post" "nice pic" etc. Not really conversation, though it can be. Twitter conversations can be intense and real time, but also tend to disappear into the Twitter ether due to the non semantic nature of Twitter.
  • FriendFeed. I don't think so right now. Scoble may be right and FF might go mainstream, but that's going to take a while and meantime FF is silent.
  • Conversations on my content. Absolutely. So much so, that I have resolved to do two things: employ Facebook Connect on my new blog comments area and open up my friends list to Scoble-esque proportions.
So there's a bit to do and of course it's ongoing.

And it obsesses me.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

posted by thr at 9:00 am 0 comments links to this post

 
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